Longing for a little bit of sanctuary? You need some master bathroom ideas that will help turn your main washroom into a remedying oasis.
Main bathrooms are increasingly becoming so much more than a functional space – they are a retreat from a busier-than-ever household, a space where a renewed respect for cleanliness can be indulged, and progressively a design outlet onto which to project personality.
See: Bathroom ideas – stylish decor ideas for all bathrooms
‘Master bathrooms are getting a major upgrade at the moment, with a real focus on creating a special and inviting space that we want to spend time in,’ says Lee Thornley, Founder of Bert + May.
‘As many of us spend more time at home, the need for a place of calm to ‘switch off’ has become pressing’, adds Emma Joyce, Communications Manager at Victoria + Albert Baths. ‘We’ve seen a return to the idea of the long, indulgent soak.’
Read on to see our favorite master bathroom ideas.
Master bathroom ideas
From doubled-up fixtures and fittings to stunning statements bathtubs, experts share both the classic and modern master bathroom ideas that will make your daily soak a true joy.
1. The time is right for bold color
Neutrals may help induce a sense of calm – but if that’s just not your style, prioritise creating a room where you feel comfortable. Master bathrooms are increasingly becoming a space where homeowners are looking to express character and, for those with bolder tastes, that means embracing color.
‘There’s been an increase in use of color and pattern, with our customers really embracing the design challenge of making a scheme that feels exciting and that reflects their personality’, says Thornley. In this room, the design dives into a contrasting combination of red and blue, accented with playful white stripes and checkered floors.
2. For bathrooms with freestanding tubs, think in 3D
Choosing a freestanding bathtub is the ultimate master bathroom centrepiece – but remember that it’s a design choice that will need the rest of the room to follow suit. ‘You must keep in mind that you can see all around it’, says James Lentaigne, Creative Director at Drummonds. ‘This means that you need to take a 3D approach to the layout of the bathroom.
‘Scale your bath according to the space available and make sure that you have plenty of room all around it, even when other pieces such as basins and loos have been put in place. You want to be able to see it from all angles and for the whole room to feel spacious.’
- See: Bathroom pictures – ways to kickstart your bathroom revamp
3. Double vanity basins don’t have to be bulky
A double vanity is an opulent addition to a large master bathroom, celebrating abundant space. But if the idea of two sinks conjures ideas of large, boxy sideboards, think again. In this room, this elegant vanity is pared back with open space below the sinks, making its addition dainty, not dominating.
‘Double vanities create the perfect centrepiece for a master bathroom,’ says Lentaigne. ‘One of the joys of classically-inspired bathroomware is that it has beautiful proportions which lend themselves well to being scaled down.’
3. Choose smaller marble tiles for a contemporary look
Marble has had quite the Renaissance in recent years – but if you want to make your take on it really contemporary, think small. Large panels lend true luxury, but smaller tiles of the stone or even marble-effect porcelain are more adaptable, accessible and absolutely on trend.
In this shower, emerald green tiles display the amazing variety of patterns and tones to be found in the stone. Look out also for tiles in unusual tessellating shapes for a really unique look. ‘We have recently introduced a collection of white, pink and green marble tiles in square and herringbone shapes, encouraging our customers to play with the marbling pattern in combination with the tile shape which has had some stunning results,’ says Thornley.
See: Bathroom layout ideas – the best layouts for bathrooms, ensuites and shower rooms
4. Let the light in
A trend towards big and bright has applied to more than just color. ‘Space and light are the hallmarks of a luxury bathroom,’ says Joyce. ‘Many homeowners have increased the size of their master bathroom in recent years to create a greater sense of sanctuary and comfort.’
This bathroom has really made the most of a large space and stunning vaulted ceiling by going all white. With comparatively small windows, an all-white paint scheme allows the light to bounce around the room and brighten every corner.
5. Statement tubs aren’t just for big bathrooms
‘People often associate freestanding baths with huge bathrooms but this doesn’t have to be the case,’ says Barry Crutchie, Design Director at BC Designs. ‘Several of the best-selling models on the market are available in a smaller footprint; around the same size of a standard sized shower.’
‘We’ve also seen some really clever use of space and position of baths. If you have recently converted a loft, often there is limited space under sloping roofs. This can be the perfect opportunity to add a freestanding bath under the eaves – maximizing space that was otherwise unusable.’
6. Go maximalist with patterned walls
Bringing in color to a bathroom is one thing, but combine that with an audacious print, and you have yourself a very voguish washroom.
‘Maximalism is very much on-trend with more and more people experimenting with bold patterns and bright colors,’ says Lentaigne. ‘Bathrooms are one of the few places in the house where you can get away with strong, vivid tones which might be over-the-top in other rooms.’ In this spectacular bathroom, a bold landscape mural adorns the walls with contrasting blues, greens and reds, with minimal hardware employed to give it free aesthetic reign.
7. Trick the eye with luxury vinyl flooring
‘When planning a bathroom, choosing the right flooring is crucial,’ says Sarah Escott, Design Manager at Amtico. ‘Not only does it have to complement the design aesthetic, but it also has to withstand the trials that come from water and humidity, while remaining easy to clean.’
The necessity for water resistance does put limits on the flooring materials you can use, but it doesn’t have to limit your aesthetic. ‘LVT [Luxury Vinyl Tile] is a fantastic option for the bathroom,’ says Escott. ‘The variety of designs available makes it possible to reproduce the look of wood and stone without the extra care that is needed with natural material.’
- See: Bathroom trends — inspiring new looks for your bathroom
8. Double up on walk-in showers
Doubling your vanity units seems like the ultimate master bathroom luxury – that is until you’ve doubled your showers. This room combines a freestanding bath with two showers in a comparatively small wet room area, all thanks to a clever use of space. A bath in the eaves gives way to showers at the taller point of the room – the walk-in nature of the showers, the positioning of the screens and minimal fittings means that two showers take up little more space than just one.
9. Bring the party with patterned floors
If patterned walls seem like too much of a headache first thing in the morning, turn your bathroom into a dance floor with underfoot motifs. In this bathroom, a largely white room is enlivened with an ornate Mediterranean-style tiles.
‘Using fun patterns and designs on the floor is a great way to add personality as it won’t dominate the whole space, and can be combined with softer touches in the rest of the décor to prevent it becoming too overwhelming’, says Thornley.
10. Make sure your bath is comfortable for you
‘When choosing a new bath the main point to consider is comfort’, says Lentaigne. ‘Even if you love the look of a bath, you will never fully enjoy using it if you find it uncomfortable. How do you usually bathe? Different shapes suit different positions, some baths are better for sitting upright and reading a book, and others have curved sides for you to lie back into.’
‘If you can, get into the bath before you buy it!’ adds Joyce. ‘We showed two baths at the recent Design Week show at the Design Centre in Chelsea. Very different, yet opinion was divided as to which was the most comfortable.’
11. Bring the outdoors in with natural motifs
A collective longing for the great outdoors has recently seen green paint colors, natural textures and organic motifs weave their way all over our homes. The bathroom is no exception, where green tiling has grown in popularity and the maximalist trend has been dominated by natural print. Here, a partially green-panelled bathroom is decorated above with a wallpaper filled with drawings of botanical specimens.
12. Enhance a fitted bath with on-trend tiles
‘While a freestanding bath is normal at the top of everyone’s list, a standard fitted bath can be just as interesting when it comes to bathroom design, particularly if you decide to dress it up with tiles,’ says Crutchie.
‘There are plenty of options in how to dress up a fitted bath and the enclosed casing is the perfect canvas to have fun. You can either choose to blend it seamlessly by continuing your tiles on the panel or create an even bigger focal point by contrasting the tiles.’
What should I put in my master bathroom?
The master bathroom is the washroom where you can go all out – double vanity units, freestanding baths, luxurious walk-in showers (not one, but two) all have their place here. But what you really need to make sure you have in your bathroom is enough space to allow whatever pieces you choose to breathe.
‘The size of the space will determine what pieces will fit into the room and will impact the layout you choose for your bathroom’, says Lentaigne.
‘Make the most of the space available and think about how the bathroom is used – for example should it include one basin or two, does it need both a bath and a shower, or just a bath or a shower? Decide in advance how the room should feel – is it a relaxing sanctuary or functional shower room – and then choose materials and products that reflect that feeling.’
‘Examine the space you currently have and how well you are using it’, advises Crutchie. ‘Consider if you are getting the most from your walls, or if unused items are taking up valuable floor space. Take a look at the windows in the room – often, this is an awkward place to fit washbasins or WCs. Could your bath go under the window?’
I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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